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To disproportion me in every part,
Like to a chaos, or an unlick'd bear-whelp,
Why, I can smile, and murder while I smile; And cry, content, to that which grieves my heart; And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions;
I'll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall ;
Henry VI. on his own Lenity.
I have not stopp'd mine ears to their demands, Nor posted off their suits with slow delays; My pity hath been balm to heal their wounds, My mildness hath allay'd their swelling griefs, My mercy dried their water-flowing tears: I have not been desirous of their wealth, Nor much oppress'd them with great subsidies, Nor forward of revenge, though they much err'd.
Dying Speech of the Earl of Warwick.
Ah, who is nigh? come to me, friend or foe, And tell me who is victor, York or Warwick ? Why ask I that? my mangled body shows,
My blood, my want of strength, my sick heart shows,
And by my fall, the conquest to my foe.
Whose top branch over-peer'd Jove's spreading tree,
Have been as piercing as the mid day sun,
To search the secret treasons of the world:
The wrinkles in my brows, now fill'd with blood,
For who liv'd king, but I could dig his grave?
And who durst smile when Warwick bent his brow?
Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust?
Queen Margaret's Speech before the Battle of
Lords, knights, and gentlemen, what I should say, My tears gainsay;* for every word I speak,
* Unsay, deny.
Ye see, I drink the water of mine eyes.
Omens on the Birth of Richard III.
The owl shriek'd at thy birth, an evil sign; The night-crow cried, aboding luckless time; Dogs howl'd, and hideous tempests shook down trees. The raven rook'd* her on the chimney's top, And chattering pies in dismal discord sung.
KING RICHARD III.
This historical tragedy describes the sanguinary career of King Richard, his murder of his brother (the Duke of Clarence), and the two young princes in the Tower, and his final overthrow and death, at the battle of Bosworth Field, by the Earl of Richmond, afterwards Henry the Seventh, who unites the rival houses of York and Lancaster, and ends the wars of the white and red roses. Dr. Johnson describes this play as one of the most celebrated of Shakspere's performances, but adds :-"I know not whether it has not happened to him, as to others, to be praised most when praise is not most deserved. That this play has scenes, noble in themselves, and very well contrived to strike in the exhibition, cannot be denied; but some parts are trifling, others shocking, and some improbable."
* To rook signified to squat down or lodge on any thing.
The Duke of Gloster on his Deformity.
Now is the winter of our discontent
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
That dogs bark at me, as I halt by them ;-
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Gloster's Love for Lady Anne.
And what these sorrows could not thence exhale
My tongue could never learn sweet soothing word;
My proud heart sues, and prompts my tongue to speak.
Gloster's praises of his own Person after his successful
My dukedom to a beggarly denier,†
† A small French coin.